CHICAGO: Chris Paul tallied 28 points and 12 assists as the Los Angeles Clippers won their second straight NBA game with a 96-86 victory Sunday over the injury-hit Chicago Bulls.
DeAndre Jordan grabbed 17 of his 26 rebounds in the first half and Spencer Hawes finished with 14 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers, who seized the lead for good on a Jamal Crawford jumper with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. Crawford finished with 16 points.
“It is our defence,” Paul said. “They got us going there in the second half. We got stops when we needed to and it was a good game for us.”
The Clippers have won six of their last nine since all-star forward Blake Griffin went down with a staph infection on his right arm.
The infirmary list on the other side of the court is even more extensive as the Bulls continue to cope with the loss of former most valuable player Derrick Rose.
Rose is expected to miss up to six weeks after having surgery two days ago to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
On Sunday, All-Star guard Jimmy Butler exited early after injuring his left elbow.
Butler was hurt when he ran into Jordan and was attended by trainers before heading to the locker room.
Pau Gasol returned to the Bulls’ lineup after missing Friday’s win over Minnesota with an illness, but Taj Gibson was out after suffering an ankle injury against the Timberwolves.
“The most important thing with our team is whenever something happens here we are together and we really try to find a way,” said Chicago’s Nikola Mirotic.
Late in the fourth Los Angeles went on a 15-4 surge which was powered by Paul’s six points and capped by his free throw for an 11-point lead with just over a minute to go in front of a crowd of 21,600 at the United Center arena.
The Clippers improved to 9-1 in their last 10 games at the United Center since the 2004-05 season.
Mirotic paced the Bulls with 29 points off the bench. Aaron Brooks scored 14, Tony Snell had 13 points and Joakim Noah finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Chicago fell to 3-2 on its seven-game homestand.